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51 minutes ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

The OA has lost a lot of meaning in my neck of the woods. And now that everybody who wants in gets in. None of my Scouts are interested. In the past 6 years, only 1 person wanted in, and he was pushed by his dad who was an Arrowman in his youth. He did the Ordeal, and went to a meeting, and it was so bad he never went again.

As for 2 of my sons, despite telling the OA election team they were not interested in joining the OA and remove their names from the ballot, their names remained and they did get elected. But never did their Ordeal. The reason they told me was that the OA is no longer a true honor society like it was in my day. There was a Call out where several Scouts my boys and I knew got elected and eventually became Arrowman, All of us knew one of them was a serious problem, especially camping, and wondered how he got elected. When they asked their friends in that Scout's troop how he got elected, they were told everyone gets in, its no big deal.

What really hurt me was that when I was the chapter advisor, and we were rebuilding out chapter and lodge's AIA program, my oldest helped me with the drum and drumsticks. he heard my stories, and couldn't wait to get in. But by the time he became eligible,  talking to his friends who were in said it was no big deal and he lost all interest.

I've noticed that the quality of the OA has gone down.  It's become more of the BSA party society.  My youth experience was only at the chapter level, the chapter covering all of the UK, Iceland, and Norway.  We held our own Ordeal and Brotherhood ceremonies.  I remember the entire chapter essentially did the Ordeal with the candidates.  Some conducted OA business, but the other remaining few were out there working.  In the evening, everyone was present for the ceremonies.  I think it officially has changed form the honor society to the service society, but every rank requires some sort of service hours.  I'm not sure how the kids will find that to be a draw.  It's no longer anything special until you reach Vigil.  

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How about going back to an earlier version?

I would say my troop is pretty outdoorsy. We camp 10/12 months, with a lock in IF possible in December and 2 weekends of Scouting For Food in February, being the 2 months we do not camp. Even during C

LOL, he says they have doubled in size while BSA has steeply lost members. Their self reporting that they have 60k members right now, total, nationwide. Trail Life is a joke.

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1 hour ago, DannyG said:

There is no different training for Cub Scout leaders. Lions/Tigers/Wolves/Bears den leader is the same as Webelos/AOL. And for a Cub Scout to earn AOL, they only have to participate in one outdoor activity. They don't even have to camp anymore. That's not enough practice to bridge up to a troop who camps monthly. So the scouts are doing a lot of the transition after they join a troop.

I never was a fan of units that pencil-whipped kids who had earned AoL through Boy Scout rank requirements. That doesn't mean they should have gone to an extreme and unnecessarily made kids wait to get rank requirements signed off, but rather they could actually, you know, test the kids on campouts to see where their skillset is at. I lamented (about a decade ago now I believe) when they pushed more outdoor cooking requirements down to the Cub program, that it would build more anticipation of kids/parents that would react with "I've already done that" when they hit troops. BSA seemed to knee-jerk course correction entirely in the other direction a few years ago. The bottom line I take as an outside observer to Cubs: the program was fine as was 20-30 years ago. Never should have started introducing all these "pathway" modules, as DLs just got so fixated on ticking those boxes that 1) they forgot it is about having fun, and 2) it created book learners, not experience learners, and that is not ever a good thing for troop program that should be focused on outdoor learning-by-doing. 

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2 minutes ago, HashTagScouts said:

I never was a fan of units that pencil-whipped kids who had earned AoL through Boy Scout rank requirements. That doesn't mean they should have gone to an extreme and unnecessarily made kids wait to get rank requirements signed off, but rather they could actually, you know, test the kids on campouts to see where their skillset is at. I lamented (about a decade ago now I believe) when they pushed more outdoor cooking requirements down to the Cub program, that it would build more anticipation of kids/parents that would react with "I've already done that" when they hit troops. BSA seemed to knee-jerk course correction entirely in the other direction a few years ago. The bottom line I take as an outside observer to Cubs: the program was fine as was 20-30 years ago. Never should have started introducing all these "pathway" modules, as DLs just got so fixated on ticking those boxes that 1) they forgot it is about having fun, and 2) it created book learners, not experience learners, and that is not ever a good thing for troop program that should be focused on outdoor learning-by-doing. 

Anecdote: My Cub Scout Pack thrived because we scheduled fall/spring camping, a winter cabin weekend, and outdoor activities monthly. Many of the Packs in my area no longer camp outdoors, so we took those Cubs who left and let them join our Pack. I appreciated the chance to help my scouts learn and practice outdoor skills. ie. In Cub Scouts I can teach kids to cook on outdoor stoves and grills while standing next to them. In a troop, they learn practice as a patrol, led by other scouts. Adults are at a distance. When I recruited scouts I explained it is because scouts learn by doing. Not by memorizing and reciting a book.

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6 minutes ago, HashTagScouts said:

DLs just got so fixated on ticking those boxes that 1) they forgot it is about having fun, and 2) it created book learners, not experience learners, and that is not ever a good thing for troop program that should be focused on outdoor learning-by-doing. 

That right there is what I have noticed.  I suppose it was to make it easy for DLs as most did not want to be DLs.  We are in a drop off society and when I tell a parent that they will have to be the DL if their kid is going to join, they either leave or do it begrudgingly.  By the time they get to Webelos and AOL, even the somewhat motivated parent starts phoning it in.  What could be some really cool adventures turn into classroom stuff.  My son's den cooked spaghetti in the church kitchen for Cast Iron Chef.  I don't think they did much focus on budget and certainly didn't go shopping.  My son is bored and I'm frustrated because there is little I can do to help.  Making my daughter's experience better is one of the few drivers behind my decision making process in favor of continuing in the organization.  I'll be home by then and, if the new pack is willing, I can be the Webelos DL and make things awesome.  The kids will be close to Tenderfoot in outdoor skills by the time I'm done.  

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2 minutes ago, DannyG said:

Anecdote: My Cub Scout Pack thrived because we scheduled fall/spring camping, a winter cabin weekend, and outdoor activities monthly. Many of the Packs in my area no longer camp outdoors, so we took those Cubs who left and let them join our Pack. I appreciated the chance to help my scouts learn and practice outdoor skills. ie. In Cub Scouts I can teach kids to cook on outdoor stoves and grills while standing next to them. In a troop, they learn practice as a patrol, led by other scouts. Adults are at a distance. When I recruited scouts I explained it is because scouts learn by doing. Not by memorizing and reciting a book.

And I endorse this. Building anticipation in Cubs that at the next program level they will be on their own mentored by other kids is the correct approach. We've lost that mentality far too much IMO.

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58 minutes ago, Armymutt said:

I've noticed that the quality of the OA has gone down.  It's become more of the BSA party society.  My youth experience was only at the chapter level, the chapter covering all of the UK, Iceland, and Norway.  We held our own Ordeal and Brotherhood ceremonies.  I remember the entire chapter essentially did the Ordeal with the candidates.  Some conducted OA business, but the other remaining few were out there working.  In the evening, everyone was present for the ceremonies.  I think it officially has changed form the honor society to the service society, but every rank requires some sort of service hours.  I'm not sure how the kids will find that to be a draw.  It's no longer anything special until you reach Vigil.  

The undoing for me last year was the constant push on converting Candidate to Ordeal. The Lodge was in my view bordering on harassment for kids to attend Ordeal with emails every week. By the time you got to November, many parents would be unsubscribing from our email list, and when they changed LM to take that option out of mass emails, I'm sure many just started blocking our email. When Nat'l officially changed to allow 18 months to complete Ordeal, it was the last straw for me- to obvious it was about numbers which equal $$$ than it was about nor or quality in the achievement. for our Lodge, and many in the northern climes, elections took place in spring, and we'd have Ordeal weekends in May and either August & September or September & October. So, basically 3 opportunities after election. That 18 month change, the way it lays out on the calendar, was now 6 opportunities. 

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Posted (edited)

From Newsweek

"An online petition is calling for the Boy Scouts of America to reverse its planned name change...The name change, which is expected to go into effect on February 8, 2025—coinciding with the organization's 115th anniversary—sparked fierce backlash on social media."

Sources:

https://www.newsweek.com/boy-scouts-america-name-change-backlash-petition-1899301

https://www.change.org/p/save-boy-scouts

Edited by RememberSchiff
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On 5/8/2024 at 5:00 PM, Eagle94-A1 said:

I would say my troop is pretty outdoorsy. We camp 10/12 months, with a lock in IF possible in December and 2 weekends of Scouting For Food in February, being the 2 months we do not camp. Even during COVID, we continued to meet, virtually and outside, had monthly day trips in the outdoors, and even did our own summer camp. Yes we car camp, but we also backpack, cycle, and do canoeing and whitewater activities. And the Scouts pick Summer Camps with the program they want, with the only caveat being it has to be within an 8 hour drive.

The last 2 batches of Webelos that visited, the activities scared the parents.

I resemble that statement. The thing is those activities that scare the parents of 10.5 year-old crossovers, they want to do them by the time they turn 12-13 years old. So in the last 2 years we have had more scouts join by word-of-mouth, by talking to their friends doing fun stuff like this, than we have had by crossing over kids on their way out of elementary school.

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Wow, lot of stuff to digest here. 

The cub program is fine. It has been fine. The updates that are kicking in June 1st (or abouts) will be an improvement. The key to the cub program is what many of you already touched on; disengaged parents will provide a poor program no matter what the program is. I do feel that there will be some more advanced WEBELOS that will get held back due to the new program; however, the overall 4th and 5th grade cubbing experience is going to be better for the majority of scouts. The key to retaining AOLs/capturing them into the troop level program is going to be troop to pack interaction. When I was at the pack I pushed the attitude of "Next years crossover starts this June!" and by the time I moved on the pack went from 25% or fewer AOLS crossing to about 80%. Your local troops have to be involved, they need to send den chiefs; those older scouts talking about all the cool troop level stuff that happens year round is a big part of hooking an AOL on crossing over.

I don't get the order of the arrow. Somethings broken there. As others have stated it has moved from being an honor society to being a service society. As an outsider looking in I see elections as popularity contests, I know of a scout who camps 20+ nights a year, never turns down a service opportunity, but he just can't get elected year-over-year. Half the troop doesn't like this scout and he can't get in. I feel so bad for him; he is living the scout oath and law, he is camping, and he is doing service and he just can't get elected. So many of the other kids look at what has happened to him year-over-year and they are all "F that program, we don't want to be part of something like that." On top of that I personally don't see the service; our camp has a massive back log. I know that my council is part of the problem, I've spoken with people that I know in other councils and the OA experience is phenomenal; however, it seems like those lodges are far and few between. 

The lack of outdoors/camping is an issue. I think this goes back to something I read in another thread, the poster stated that back in the day it was a fight to see who was going to be SM, today it's a fight to see who isn't. What I see in my area is that most SMs fall into 1 of 2 buckets: Bucket 1 is the don't know squat bucket, and so the troops outdoor program falls apart and then the troop shrinks until folding. Bucket 2 is the SM only cares about his kid bucket and everyone else is along for the ride. 

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And, while the staff churned through the coordination and public relations blitz of the re-branding, and spent untold time preparing for and scurrying about at the National Meeting, your units do not have access to tools and resources to plan and execute their programs...

https://troopleader.scouting.org/

https://troopresources.scouting.org/

https://tap.scouting.org/

How about just building your new websites in a sandbox, and then, when ready, migrate all at once?

Seems a simple enough concept...

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Just saw our council's numbers... from a year ago at this time, we are down almost 8% of our youth numbers, and almost 12% of our adult numbers.

The patient is very ill.

And, I noted something curious... our registered adult to youth ratio? 1 : 1.8

We have one registered adult for every 1.8 youth in the council...  I am cogitating on that one for a while.

Thoughts?

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4 minutes ago, InquisitiveScouter said:

Just saw our council's numbers... from a year ago at this time, we are down almost 8% of our youth numbers, and almost 12% of our adult numbers.

The patient is very ill.

And, I noted something curious... our registered adult to youth ratio? 1 : 1.8

We have one registered adult for every 1.8 youth in the council...  I am cogitating on that one for a while.

Thoughts?

A few reasons why this may be the case, but I do not know.

1. MBCs are now a paid  position, so they are now included

2. the 18-21 crowd, the 'Adult participants" are now being included

3. A lot of folks are getting tired of the constant increases in prices.

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Posted (edited)
8 minutes ago, Eagle94-A1 said:

A few reasons why this may be the case, but I do not know.

1. MBCs are now a paid  position, so they are now included

2. the 18-21 crowd, the 'Adult participants" are now being included

3. A lot of folks are getting tired of the constant increases in prices.

I was thinking more along the lines of implications of the ratio, rather than causes...

One thought is, this is indicative of the complexity of Scouting.  There's a heck of a lot to do to run a successful unit, under the current program of Scouting.

And then I looked at our unit ratio.  We are 1 : 1.5 (not including IH), or one registered adult for every youth member of the unit... and we are an extremely successful unit.

Then I also subtracted the adults in the unit who do not really contribute:  With that, we are at 1 : 2.4, so one adult for every 2.4 Scouts. 

Still seems very adult dense...

Is this "ratio" sort of an indicator of what it takes on the adult commitment side to make the program run well?

 

Edited by InquisitiveScouter
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